Working from home has many perks. You save money that you would otherwise spend on commuting. You can work in your pajamas. You have more time for things and people that matter to you. However, working from home has also some disadvantages. Unless you have the resources to build a fully operational office complete with staff, you don’t have the facilities needed to perform functions that businesses with traditional offices can. In the long run, you may lose out on major opportunities just because you’re not working in a traditional office. But don’t lose hope! Your small business can compete with the big guns if you have a virtual office.
A virtual office, as the name suggests, is a combination of telecommunication services, equipment, and spaces that you can access anytime you need. It differs from a traditional office because you simply have to get the service of a virtual office solutions provider to do everything for you. Thus, you don’t have to worry about hiring people, paying rent, or operating equipment. The provider will take care of that for you. They often offer toll-free numbers, remote receptionists, business addresses, office spaces, and other features of a traditional office.
The idea behind a virtual office is to make small businesses more systematic, organized and professional just like big companies are, but at a fraction of the cost. How would you know if a virtual office is right for you? If you have encountered any of the dilemmas listed below, then yes, you are a perfect candidate for a virtual office!
1) Your clients wants to set a meeting, but they live in the other end of the country.
– E-mail communication is understandably not enough for some clients, but flying out to meet them is not budget-friendly. Luckily, a virtual office provides teleconferencing equipment that enables you to meet your clients in a virtual setting. The best thing about this is that you don’t have to buy or operate the equipment, so you don’t have to worry about the overhead costs.
2) Your clients are near enough to meet you in person, but you have no office space.
– When distance is not a problem, the pressure of having an office space in which to meet your clients can really bear down on you. If you’re working from home, or if you’re working on the road, you have to find a place where you can comfortably sit down and talk to your clients while still maintaining a professional image. This is where a virtual office comes in handy. Part of the services a virtual office solutions provider offers is office space with access to full equipment such as fax machines, copiers, phones, video screens, projectors, etc. You don’t have to rent a full office just to have something presentable for your clients.
3) You run your business from your home, so you don’t really have a business address.
– For safety reasons, you most likely don’t want your home address divulged publicly. That can be quite a dilemma when you’re promoting your home-based businesses. How can you keep your privacy while creating your network of contacts? The answer lies in a virtual office. Many service providers offer legitimate businesses addresses and mail-forwarding services. This option not only protects your privacy, but it also gives your business a more professional image.
4) You want your clients to have someone to contact even when you’re not available.
– The obvious solution is to hire people, but this is not an option if your profits are not enough to sustain employees. If you need to provide better customer service to your clients without having to get people to work for you, you’ll benefit a lot from a virtual office. Service providers will assign receptionists to receive calls from your clients in your company’s name.
5) You have equipment at home, but you don’t have a business continuity plan.
– Major companies have a business continuity plan (BCP) to ensure that operations can carry on in spite of unforeseen emergencies. Even if you’re running a small business, it’s good to have a BCP. A virtual office can provide all the necessary facilities so you can continue your operations. Whether your computers crashed or your phone lines got knocked down by a snowstorm, you can rely on your virtual office to stand in for a while.
You can separate your personal life from your business even without a traditional office. In this day and age of the Internet and other breakthrough technologies, almost nothing is impossible in business. So the next time someone tells you that you need a traditional office to succeed, you can confidently challenge that claim, thanks to virtual office solutions.